A Decidedly Mixed Blessing

This 1948 Thresher article is the earliest reference I’ve seen to students evaluating faculty at Rice in an organized way:

New Student poll spring 1948074

I’m particularly interested in the way the faculty members are talking here. The tolerant tone has the feel of a verbal pat on the head for the youngsters but I do think that Professor Camden sticks his finger–gently–right into the heart of the problem.

Bonus: This young man is Christian Hauser, a very recent Rice grad who has been working with me in the Woodson on a major project. Over Christmas break he and his young family were involved in a serious car accident. He and the little one are fine but his wife was very badly injured and had to be airlifted back to Houston. She’s currently hospitalized here and is doing better but they have a long, hard road in front of them. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with what will be their considerable expenses. The link is here for anyone who feels able to contribute. It will be greatly appreciated.


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9 Responses to A Decidedly Mixed Blessing

  1. Buddy Chuoke '75 says:

    The mysterious death of John Parish still has me scratching my head.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      It really was a sad thing. One of the most powerful things I’ve learned from my job–especially from cleaning out the offices of colleagues that have passed away–is that it’s almost impossible to know what’s going on inside other people.

  2. Gloria Meckel Tarpley '81 says:

    I was just going to write to ask about John Parish. I was at Rice at the time of his death, and it was a very sad, inexplicable thing. His memorial was very well attended — a testament to the high regard in which he was held. I wondered whether you ever learned a reason for his sad decision? At the time, we understood it to have been suicide, but never learned more. As you know, he was resident associate at Wiess at the time, and was so very dearly loved — it was a very sad loss. He was truly a gentleman and a scholar. I don’t think anyone saw his death coming — Bill Wilson and Stuart Baker, the other resident associate and the master at the time were very shocked as well, as I recall.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Gloria, I have no way to be certain but it’s my impression (based on very little evidence) that he had recently received a bad diagnosis of some kind. I know it’s not much but I’ve never seen anything else that would begin to explain it.

      • Gloria Meckel Tarpley '81 says:

        That would make sense — he certainly never seemed depressed, although of course he could have been hiding depression, I suppose. It was so very sad — he was a lovely man! Thank you, Melissa. You are the keeper of all these memories and legacies, you know….

        • Matt Schreck says:

          I, too, was drawn to the reference to the young Dr. Parish. I took intro English from him in 1977-78. I got to know him fairly well, as he was an associate at Weiss and lived there for many years. Funny story — during summers, he would hold happy hours each week (I believe on Thursday afternoons). I got there early one day (for those who know me that would not be unusual behavior), and Dr. Parish asked that I help set up the bar. What I learned was that “setting up the bar” was refilling the top shelf bottles of booze with liquor he had bought at Bert Wheelers (a long gone discount liquor chain). I was sworn to secrecy, which I suppose I just violated the oath. Dr. Parish was a wonderful man and a fine teacher. I believe he committed suicide in the late 1980s, though my memory may be incorrect on that one. Sad stuff.

        • Melissa Kean says:

          Yes, I’ve slowly become aware of that. It’s also a mixed blessing. Some of it is hard to carry.

  3. Beverly Schorre says:

    Thank you so much for sharing about the Hauser Family. Do you know if they need meals? Have you heard of “Meal Train”? It’s a wonderful system for people to sign up for meals to help cover their needs.
    Please let me know how I can be of help.

  4. Ron Ladd says:

    I was in old Wiess College from fall 1968 through 1973, where Dr. Parish was a resident associate. I had come from very rural middle Tennessee to Rice, not having traveled too much nor ever been to Rice before. Dr. Parish was very helpful in making the transition to higher education and a big city. He was also very generous in providing sleeping accommodations to some of us visiting back on campus after graduation.
    One thing I have not seen discussed about Dr. Parish was his service during World War II. He once told me one of his jobs was to interview Army Air Corps personnel whose airplanes did not make it back from missions, but who had made it back to Allied controlled territory at some time. The purpose of the interview was to ensure that the returning personnel were actually American and not German spies trying to get into Great Britain. He said once he interviewed either a nephew or cousin that he recognized but that did not recognize him.
    Fond memories and sad to not have him around any more.

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